The Traditional Children's Games of England Scotland
& Ireland In Dictionary Form - Volume 2

With Tunes(sheet music), Singing-rhymes(lyrics), Methods Of Playing with diagrams and illustrations.

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ling players before the age of the written play, we know that their chief attraction must-have been the dramatic rendering of characters and events personified by certain well-known actions of the actors, accompanied by special style of dress, or portions of dress, which were recognised as sufficient in themselves to show who and what was being personified. The story was shown more by action than by words; the idea being to present events to the onlooker, and impress them on his mind. It is in these dramatic performances of what was expected we have the germs of the dramatic art that afterwards developed into the regular play or drama. Every important custom of life was probably depicted by pantomimic action. We have, first, words, describing the events, sung or said by a chorus of onlookers and dancers, afterwards a short dialogue between the chief characters taking the place of the chorus, and then, as the number of characters were increased, the representa­tions become something that could be performed independently, without the need of a particular season or custom to render it intelligible.
At this stage of the primitive drama the characters merely present actions of the dramatis personce time after time, always performed in the same manner, and this would produce con­ventional methods of presenting certain events. We know that events of a religious nature were presented in the same manner by the Church. This must have been in consequence of the attraction plays possessed as depicting pagan religion and events of ordinary life and manners and customs. It is easily conceivable that before the era of books and literature, a rough sort of presentation of life, present and past, would be eagerly welcomed; and it would not be until the advent of a writer who developed the individual acting, at the expense of the event depicted, that what we know as a play could be written.
Mr. Ordish, in his study of Folk drama, published in the Folk­lore Society's journal, has conclusively proved the development of the drama independently of the miracle and mystery plays of the Middle Ages, or from the old Greek plays, and this develop­ment has taken place through the action of the people, always accustomed to the influence of dramatic representation. Hence
VOL. II.                                                                                 2 L

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